Rumors on Keyboard- CC via Flickr/ Mike Lawrence
CAIRO - 12 January 2019: Egyptian government denied several reports concerning citizens’ social lives as 'rumors' amid the austerity measures taken to meet the conditions of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) loan of $12 billion.
Under the name of “fake news and rumors,” the cabinet issued a statement on Friday, denying social media reports, “claiming” that the government will increase the electricity consumption prices, the latest subsidies on fuel “this January.”
“No new decision were taken to increase the electricity-consumption prices. The current applicable prices were not changed since the latest increase applied in June 2018,” the cabinet’s statement read.
The cabinet added that the government has taken a 8-year plan to remove the subsidies on the electricity consumption gradually to “ease burdens on citizens’ shoulders.”
In August 2018, the Ministry of Electricity issued a statement saying that the new increase of the electricity prices would be applied in June 2019.
Since 2016, Egypt has taken austerity measures and gradually removed the governmental subsidies on many factors including, electricity, fuel, and social supplies to meet the IMF conditions. It was scheduled that Egypt will receive the fifth tranches of IMF loan ($2 billion) mid January, increasing the total amount money taken from the fund to $10 billion.
Recently, users on social media posted tweets of pro-Muslim Brotherhood, the outlawed group, criticizing the government’s reform program.
“No privatization of national reserves”
In another statement issued by the Cabinet, the government denied “claims” of privatization of a number of national reserves, saying “the national reserves are a public properties protected by the constitution and shall not be sold or owned by all means.”
Some media outlets reported that the government has denied such “rumors” after users of social media posted on “privatization of national reserves”.
In August 2018 at the sidelines of the Annual meetings of the African Caucus for the World Bank (WB) and the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Minister of Environment Yasmine Fouad announced that the government will offer a total of 30 national reserves for foreign investors in an usufructuary way.
The cabinet, after contacting with the Ministry of Environment, refuted “claims” that some exhibits of dinosaur and whales fossils “were stolen from Museums affiliated to the Ministry of Environment,” adding that “such claims are groundless.”
Former employee at the Ministry of Environment has published a post on his unverified Facebook account, saying that a legal case were filed against stealing fossils of distinected whales and dinosaurs from the Ministry of Environment museums, calling for opening an investigation into such claims.
‘No dismissal of public servants’
In a third denial statement, the government said that the newly-drafted Labor Law will not cause firing public servants from their posts.
“Any public servant will not and shall not be dismissed from his post in accordance with the new Labor Law,” the statement said, adding that the new bill aims at protecting the public servants’ social and financial rights.
Pro-Muslim Brotherhood media outlet, al-Araby, wrote an article on January 5 about the new Labor Law, which is being considered at the House of Representatives, stipulates that labor strikes would be banned and public servants could face forced dismissal.
‘No Valsartan-containing medicines in pharmacies anymore’
Moreover, Egypt’s Ministry of Health denied media reports claiming that high blood pressure medicines containing Valsartan substance that causes cancers are still being sold in pharmacies.
The Ministry added in its statement that medicines containing Valsartan is not sold anymore since recalling 14 medicines with such substances in July 2018.